Community engagement in People and communities

We believe Every Action Counts. United partners with non-profit organizations that are making a difference in the United States and around the globe to deliver on our social impact goals, aligning our community investments with our business priorities.

Our approach

Our actions are rooted in our four cornerstones, which are aligned with who we are and what we do as a business.

Responding to crisis. Lifting communities in crisis after disaster

United responds to natural and manmade disasters by using our aircraft and global network to deliver much-needed relief supplies and volunteers to impacted areas.

Funding supports

  • Resiliency efforts that ensure communities are prepared in advance of disaster.
  • Movement of first responders and critical relief supplies to areas of need.
  • Long-term recovery efforts to get communities back on their feet after disaster strikes.

As an airline, we can respond to disasters and crisis needs in unique ways by delivering much-needed relief supplies and volunteers to impacted areas.

From August through November 2021, United’s Miles on a Mission program launched multiple campaigns to help in the Afghanistan relief efforts and provide support to our non-profit partners that use air travel to transport and help Afghan refugees.  These campaigns raised over 48 million miles for organizations that provided travel support, health and humanitarian services, and meals to nearly 4,000 Afghan refugees as they resettled to safe, new homes across the country.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have supported the communities where our employees and customers live and work. In May 2021, with a second wave of COVID-19 hitting India, United employees and our customers around the world offered their support, raising nearly $300,000 for charities helping India, and transporting 370,000 pounds of cargo containing medical supplies and equipment.

September of Service

United held its first annual September of Service, a month dedicated to honoring the memory of those affected by 9/11, by volunteering and moving forward with acts of kindness. During the month, United volunteers:

  • Packed 184,000+ meals
  • Collected 63,000+ pounds of food
  • Retrieved 5,000+ pounds of trash
  • Hosted events in 17 cities

Through all the volunteerism efforts in 2021, 1,700 employees volunteered more than 11,000 hours to 190 local nonprofits in over 140 cities. Volunteers were actively engaged with the community 359 days out of the year.

Building inclusion. Breaking down barriers to promote inclusion

United strives to create an environment in our office, airports and the world where acceptance and appreciation of everyone is the norm.

Funding supports

  • Programs designed to fight systemic racism.
  • Programs that amplify the voices of marginalized people including veterans, the LGBTQ+  community and those with physical and intellectual disabilities.
  • Programs that provide small and minority owned businesses the resources needed to thrive and compete in the global economy.

In October 2021, United celebrated the two-year anniversary of the Special Olympics ambassador program, which has provided Special Olympic athletes employment opportunities within our Chicago O’Hare airport operation. United has championed the inclusion revolution by providing roles that afford the athletes a unique and meaningful career in aviation.

Because of the success at Chicago O’Hare, we have expanded the program to include four athlete ambassadors at the Denver International Airport and six athlete ambassadors at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport. These Service Ambassadors work one-on-one with their United mentors to provide excellent customer service with a smile.

Since 2018, United has supported Special Olympics’ mission to create continuing opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities by investing over 10,500 volunteer hours and donating over 1.2 million dollars in travel to the organization.

United Airlines believes that people with intellectual disabilities should be perceived as they really are: independent, world-class athletes, students, employees, neighbors, travelers, and leaders who contribute to making our world a better place.

To learn more about the partnership and ways United has teamed up with Special Olympics, listen to Special Olympic Ambassador Daniel’s podcast, “The Special Chronicles,” where he describes his role as a United Service Ambassador,what being a leader means to him and interviews his co-workers about their inclusive career journeys.

Inspiring leadership. Inspiring the next generation of leaders

United is committed to the success of future generations. By investing in programs that encourage the next generation of leaders we're making sure our business and the  communities we serve will be successful for years to come.

Funding supports

  • Aviation focused organizations that inspire and provide access for young people from any background to pursue careers in aviation.
  • Global citizenship organizations that encouraging young people to develop the knowledge, skills and values they need to engage with the world making it more a more equal, fair and sustainable place.

United is committed to the success of future generations. When we invest in programs that encourage the next generation of leaders, we are making sure our business and the communities we serve will be successful for years to come.

In October 2021, United announced a new multi-year partnership with the Houston Independent School District (HISD), which spans 276 campuses with over 200,000 students.  What started as a virtual reading program with HISD elementary students has evolved into a partnership for aspiring aviators and aircraft enthusiasts for students in the district.  This partnership also includes a $300,000 financial commitment toward HISD’s Sterling Aviation and Early College High School’s aviation program. The kick-off saw over 300 HISD junior high students visiting the aviation high school and engaging with United pilots, flight attendants, technicians, and customer service representatives. The program continued in Spring 2022, with Houston-based United employees mentoring HISD students with the goal of graduating 100% of HISD students.

Environmental sustainability. Flying toward a more sustainable future

United celebrates the people and communities across our planet as we seek to become the most environmentally conscious airline in the world.

Funding supports

  • Programs focused on combatting climate change, improving local air and water quality, and reducing waste.
  • Recycling and redistributing decommissioned goods
  • Research and development programs focused on reducing carbon in the atmosphere

United works with environmental partners in our community to better understand and reduce our impact on the planet.

  • Driving programs focused on combatting climate change, improving local air and water quality, and reducing waste.
  • Recycling and redistributing decommissioned goods
  • Research and development programs focused on reducing carbon in the atmosphere

Building partnerships

In 2021 we added more than a dozen non-profit partners to our Social Impact work – furthering United’s commitment to the environment in our work and the work of these non-profit partners in our community.

Earth Month

United celebrated Earth Month by volunteering across our system.  United volunteers dedicated more than 1,300 hours to helping clean local parks, beaches, and riverways in our local communities, with a special thanks to our participating non-profit partners:

  • Shedd Aquarium (ORD)
  • Potomac Riverkeeper Network (IAD)
  • Galveston Bay Foundation (IAH)
  • Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (DEN)
  • California State Parks Foundation (LAX and SFO)
  • San Francisco Baykeeper (SFO)
  • Kanu Hawai’i (HNL)
  • And many more...

Activities also included listening session on Environmental Justice, hosted by our multi-cultural business resource group, UNITE, with Delta Institute of Chicago (ORD) and Liberty Hill Foundation (LAX).

Supporting non-profits

United travel supports non-profit scientists, policy makers and cleantech innovators on the frontline of the climate crisis, including partnerships with RMI (Rocky Mountain Institute), Delta Institute of Chicago, LA Cleantech Incubator, Elemental Excelerator, Denver Botanic Gardens, California Academy of  Sciences and Shedd Aquarium.

Learn how we’re taking an active role in our global community and making Every Action Count. 

See a full list of our non-profit partners

Community data

Our community data is available on our data pages.